I think most of us work with or at least know someone who bicycles to work most days. But that’s about it; we know ONE person and it ain’t us.
The last time I used a bicycle to commute was back in elementary school when I would bike the mile from my house to school. Lots of kids did that back when. These days, I only get on a bicycle occasionally. In fact, I don’t even own one of my own.
Thing is, I live close enough to work that I could easily cycle there if distance was the only consideration. But distance is far from the only consideration for me. Weather, the need to run midday errands, and (gasp!) having to get up 10 minutes earlier are all factors. But the biggest issue for me is having to share the road with motorists. I just don’t like the idea. It seems way too dangerous. I don’t like encountering bike riders when I’m driving and I’m sure it’s no fun for them either as each passing vehicle represents a potentially fatal encounter from wich they have virtually no protection.
I know some roads here (not many) have that narrow bike lane on the right shoulder. And that certainly is a help, but it’s still not good enough for me. There’s no separation from traffic except for a painted white line. Separate bike trails seem like a good idea to me, but the existing ones mostly go nowhere and are simply converted railroad beds that are wonderful for recreational use but are all that practical for meaningful transportation.
I realize this is not going to happen anytime soon, but it would be nice if we could incorporate separate, safe bicycle transportation routes as part of an overall urban design plan. I know, this is Springfield and there is no substantial or creative urban planning done here. Ask me how I know as I drive daily on narrow, unmarked country roads completely populated with subdivisions (portions of Koke Mill, Archer Elevator, Meadowbrook). Hah, and I would never cycle on some of those roads as they are now.
So, while I don’t expect anything to come of this anytime soon, I think if we are serious about energy conservation we need to look into things like making cycling a realistic option for those of us who aren’t cycling enthusiasts to begin with. This will take planning, time and money but I think it’s a good option well worth the investment. But I’m not holding my breath.